Think back to how difficult it was to watch the Boston Bruins during the 2006-07 season, when the club finished with a 35-41-6 record (76 points) and seemingly allowed more goals per game than the New England Patriots allowed points.
Now imagine you were a star Bruins skater who realized you were only one year into a multiyear contract after that season. Regret probably filled your chest, and looking for any way to escape might have been your main offseason hobby.
But luckily for the Bruins, despite that debacle of a campaign, the superstar likes of Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas didn't abandon ship. And once general manager Peter Chiarelli gave them even more reason to stay by bringing in a master tactician for a coach (Claude Julien) and a better on-ice supporting cast, they were able to thrive and save this decade from being a complete disaster for the Bruins.
"When that first year went by, I thought, 'Things can only get better,'" Savard recently told ESPN Boston. "You take that mentality, we get a new coach, and before you know it, things are totally shifting around. So it takes time. & I hung in there and I stayed confident -- as did Zee [Chara] and everybody -- and things slowly turned around, and now it's really turned around."
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. He has been on the Bruins beat since the lockout for numerous publications and has been covering the Boston sports scene for a decade. Send any questions for Matt to his mailbag and he might answer them in his Bruins mailbag.